Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick may have received the FTC’s approval in the US, but debates over the deal are far from over in Europe. Yesterday, Google attacked European parliamentarians and privacy advocates for trying to have competition authorities consider IP addresses as personal information
Google holds that an IP address merely identifies the location of a computer, not who the individual user is and that the only reason it collects IP addresses is to give customers a more accurate service based on from where in the world a search is coming from. However, Germany’s data protection commissioner Peter Scharr maintains that, since the general rule is that typing in an IP address will generate a name for the person or company linked to it, it should be protected.
All in all, a decision to treat IP addresses as personal information would definitely have implications for how search engines record data in the EU and could also put a damper on Google’s proposed DoubleClick merger.